“The PLD: Forty Four Years Later”, an article by Dr. Leonel Fernández

December 20, 2017

Upon arriving at its forty-fourth anniversary, the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD for its acronym in Spanish) is in the privileged position of being, until now, the most successful political organization in the history of the Dominican Republic.

Never before, in a democracy, a political institution had managed to obtain four consecutive presidential electoral victories. Nor had it accompanied those presidential victories by three continuous victories at
the congressional and municipal levels.

In the country’s history, simply put, no party had secured eight electoral victories, between the presidential and other elective positions, with over 50 percent of the votes.

That was not achieved either by the Red Party or the Blue Party during the nineteenth century. Either by the Jimenistas or the Horacistas at the beginning of the 20th century, or by the National Civic Union, the Christian Social
Reformist Party, or the Dominican Revolutionary Party, after the disappearance of Trujillo”s satrapy, in the more than 50 years of democratization that our country has experienced.

That strong and consistent electoral support has only been achieved, during its 44 years of political activity, by the party formed by Professor Juan Bosch: the Dominican Liberation Party.

Of course, that impressive electoral machinery that is available to the purple party
is mainly due to the efforts of the government administrations that it has had the responsibility of leading. Starting with the current administration, led by President Danilo Medina, as well as the previous ones, all have contributed to the acceleration of progress and the modernization and social transformation that the Dominican Republic has experienced during the last 20 years.

That being the case, the electorate has exceedingly rewarded it at every

This Has Not Always Been the Case
However, this has not always been the case. When it was established in 1973, the yellow star party devoted the first five years of its existence solely to an organizational and propagandistic effort.

Then, in 1978, it participated, for the first time, in an electoral competition. The results could not be more discouraging. It only obtained 18 thousand votes, equivalent to 1
percent of the vote, with the aggravating circumstance of a subsequent political isolation.

It was a dreary moment in the life of the PLD. Prominent leaders left its ranks. Prestigious national political analysts predicted its demise. Demoralization was felt throughout the ranks of the organization, and Professor Juan Bosch was stigmatized as a political corpse.

These were the darkest days in the life of the PLD family. However, in the midst of this
confusion, the PLD was able to get up, shake off the dust of the road (as Martí would say), look toward the horizon with faith, optimism and determination, and change the course of history.

After the heartbreaking electoral results of 1978, the PLD did nothing but grow. This has been demonstrated by the results obtained in 1982, 1986 and 1990. In each of these elections, the purple party expanded exponentially, something that was unprecedented in national politics, but
that was due, essentially, to the irrefutable leadership of Professor Juan Bosch.

However, despite the progress made, after each electoral process, there was some kind of setback within the purple ranks. Some senior leaders left its ranks. Groups or movements took shape; and faith was lost that at some point the PLD would cease to be the third political force, behind the PRD and the Reformist Party, to become the first political force in the country.

All that changed in 1990. This was due to the deep economic and social crisis that the country was facing. Many important population centers considered that the time had come for the PLD to move into the National Palace.

It became close to achieving it. However, because the goal was not reached, again there were important desertions that plunged the organization into a crisis of considerable dimensions.

In 1994, the situation worsened. For the
first time, since the 1978 catastrophe, the PLD was losing ground in its electoral results. Moreover, the biological and political cycles of its most representative leader were running out. The future of the PLD seemed uncertain.

But that was when at least the possibility was considered that the party founded by Juan Bosch was an option for power, and the unexpected occurred. A new generation, advancing the ideals of its leader and teacher, accepted the torch and two
years later, in 1996, took over the direction of the national future.

The Challenges of Victory
To the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD) it took 23 years of hard work, perseverance and resolve, of an active and enthusiastic membership to reach the summits of power. However, in the last 21 years it has been the dominant force in the national political scene; and in the year 2020, at the end of the current government administration, it will have
been in command for 20 of the last 24 years. This is quite a feat.

All this poses new challenges for the PLD family: the challenges of victory, which are sometimes even more complex than the misfortunes of defeat.
With defeat everything vanishes. With victory, however, new commitments and responsibilities arise. By choosing its representatives, the people rely heavily on them for a better future.

Therefore, these representatives have a duty
to live up to the expectations of the people who placed their trust in them. That means that their primary duty is to contribute to satisfy the needs of the people and to take responsibility for the defense and the promotion of the interests of the nation.

However, many deviations occur in practice. For some, the discharge of the functions of a public office becomes an obsession. The appointment to a public office is sought in order to satisfy their desire for

For these people, public office is the only thing that gives them authority. It is what gives them prestige. It is what makes them to be considered and valued by others. It is what makes them feel important. It is, in short, what gives them a breath of life.

Of course, behind the appointment comes the search for perks and privileges; and behind that, the unrelenting desire to continue climbing new positions. A permanent dissatisfaction is
created. The current position is no longer interesting. It only serves as a springboard for new aspirations.

It is not that the search for public office is something disgraceful. On the contrary, it may be something very honorable. The only thing is that its raison d”etre cannot be to satisfy a personal desire, but in the great opportunity that is being offered to serve as an instrument or channel for the interests of the people.

If so, the mystique is restored, the patriotic feeling, the sense of history, the vision of the future and the reaffirmation of the commitment that one is part of a political project whose main objective is to achieve democracy, freedom, prosperity, welfare and social justice.

All the political organizations that have been victorious in their passage through history have faced the same dilemmas that are currently being presented to the political movement that,
within the framework of democracy, has achieved the greatest success in the history of the Dominican Republic: the Dominican Liberation Party.

To continue accumulating new victories while serving the Dominican people, perhaps it may be necessary to always appeal, within the ranks of the purple party, to a simple but essential value for human coexistence: good judgment.

It is possible that this was perhaps what a publication of the newspaper El Día
referred to in a subliminal manner. The article was titled Morir de Éxito, like Icarus.

In Greek mythology it is said that Daedalus built wings for him and for his son Icarus, connecting feathers that he joined with thread. Then, he glued them to the body applying wax.

Daedalus advised Icarus to be wise; that he should not fly too high because the heat of the sun would melt the wax, but not too low either because the waves of the sea would wet the wings
and he would not be able not fly.

After learning to control the air, Icarus felt so confident that he recklessly began to climb up high. He wanted to reach the sun, but in his excitement he climbed so high that the wax melted and he fell into the sea, where he died by drowning to the sorrow of his father Daedalus.

The lesson is simple: Avoid dying of success.

So be it.